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Adventures of Chance: Part II - "Murder" (IRC)

The Next Day

Chance: I conduct myself as usual through the day with my training at the Bards College with Wendell and at the Mercenaries Hall with Christian. Any extra time that I have before leaving for the manse, I search nearby taverns and the message board of the Merc's Hall for trainers of horse flesh. When the appointed hour nears, I prepare and head to the manor. No armor, this time, but my dagger vest is present. Dagger of wounding in the usual place.

DM: You muck along through the frozen crispy snow to Whylette Lane where the manor of Lord S is. As usual, the manor is dark except for a solitary tall window high on the third floor. There is a twisted humanoid form clinging to the side of the wall there by the window... after a few moments though you begin to suspect that it is nothing more than a stone gargoyle decoration.

Chance: Was it there before?

DM: The place has always been dark, you have never seen the building in the daylight. So you don't know.

Chance: When I get closer, I carefully (observation) check the "gargoyle" for anything hinting at life.

DM: The gates are closed and you can get no closer. From your place at the gates the trees obscure the windows light as well as the figure.

Chance: Well, as long as no one jumps on me from above, I'll be happy. I wait by the gates as usual.

DM: No one seems to be coming to the gate.

Chance: I push the gate open if I can.

DM: 'Tis locked and closed....

Chance: I tap the butt of a dagger against the iron gate to get someone's attention.

DM: The empty clanking sound of your dagger echoes off the barren streets. No one arrives.

Chance: I pen a note "I'll be down the street checking out house where the ruckus was coming from the other day. Be back in about a half hour," and then post it on the gate.

DM: Alright, though you really have no idea what home that may have been except for its direction.

Chance: I'll do a little snooping for the right house. If I see anyone outside, I'll ask them if they know where the noise was coming from. Maybe that'll show that I'm not going to be kept waiting all night in the cold.

DM: You find an old man shuffling through the street. He shrugs his shoulders when you ask him the question and mutters something about not knowing anything about it. Other than that the only sounds come faintly on the wind from the warm insides of the homes and businesses that line the street.

Chance: I just go down to the limit of earshot and check for any sign of violence or anything. If I don't find anything, I'll head back to the manor. I'm not going to break into the place. I have no desire to do that.

DM: When you return to the manor you find the gate unlocked and open a scratch. The light upstairs has been put out and you cannot see the show of the gargoyle any longer.

Chance: Is my note gone?

DM: Yes.

Chance: I push the gate open the rest of the way and go up to the door.

DM: You plod through the snow and then wonder who opened the gate without leaving any footprints in the snow.

Chance: I bet it was the dude in the robes. When I get to the door I knock on it.

DM: You approach the front door, passing underneath the heavy boughs of the trees that fill the desolate yard. The front doors are closed and no sound from within except for the squeak of your feet on the old porch boards. Your knock sounds heavy within the place as if you knocking on the side of some great drum. After a moment or two you hear the latch of the door come undone, a great heavy clunk of the tumblers, but the door remains closed, even after several minutes.

Chance: I push the door open.

DM: You push mightily, not realizing how heavy the door was - though you had your suspicions after watching the cloaked fellow struggle with it before. Once wide enough you can see the dark interior of the grand entry hall.

Chance: The inside of the building is dark with no light or just dim.

DM: No light.

Chance: I sweep the room to see if I can find a candelabra or lantern to light.

DM: With your infravision you can see the outlines of the furniture, chandelier, and balconies above. You see nothing of what you were looking for.

Chance: "Hello? Lord S? Is anyone home?"

DM: Your voice is greeted with silence. For a moment you fancy you hear voices somewhere deep in the upper floors of the house... just a faint buzzing, but when you listen closer it is gone as if it never was.

Chance: I try to make my way to the third floor where the light in the window was.

DM: How will you do that with no stairway leaving this room to the balcony high up there? There are three doorways, left, right, and center. To the right you know is the parlor/pool hall.

Chance: I'll go to the parlor and check the secret door I found.

DM: Walking over to the parlor door, you then test the handle to open the door, but find it locked.

Chance: I check the doors until I find one that's not locked.

DM: All three are locked. Up above you hear the sound of a wooden door-latch sliding open. Then... slowly with dreadful apprehension you hear sliding footsteps begin to traverse the third floor balcony.

Chance: Is there a ledge upstairs?

DM: Yes, there is a balcony if you'll recall, against the center wall on the third floor of this cathedral ceilinged room.

Chance: Can I see it?

DM: You can see there, yes, the dim outline of the balustrade of the balcony. But you see no figure there....yet, you can trace with your eyes where the figure should be as you hear the footsteps slowly pace from the right end of the balcony to the left.

Chance: I climb up there. I'm not liking this anymore and think it's about time to get down to business instead of playing games.

DM: You are gonna climb up that wall to the balcony?

Chance: If no one is going to answer me, I'm going to climb up there. I'm not some sniveling petty thief.

DM: You begin making your way up the wall. This is rather difficult as there is very little at all to hold onto, but your amazing skill helps you overcome this. Still, progress is slow. As you are about half way up you hear the sound of the front door-latch closing. You turn to look back but your infravision sees no one there. Up above the footsteps have nearly reached the left side of the balcony and you hear another door opening up there.

Chance: I continue. I'm really getting tired of their games.

DM: You reach the top just in time to see the door on the left end of the balcony closing.

Chance: I go to that door and knock. "I'm here to meet with Lord S."

DM: You hear a scratching sound coming from floor level of the wooden door.

Chance: I look down.

DM: You see a discolored fingernail poking out underneath the heavy wooden door. It jerks with movement.

Chance: Like it's trying to get me?

DM: No, just quivering, the scratching continues....

Chance: I listen at the door (without touching my ear to the wood).

DM: You hear no breathing, but the scratching sound continues infrequently, slowing down - though the single long fingernail continues its erratic movement.

Chance: I go to another door. Are there keyholes on these doors?

DM: Nope. Wait... yes, though they are obscured in the fine woodwork of the door.

Chance: I peer through the keyhole of the first door.

DM: Were it not for your thieving experience with searching for hidden things you would not have seen them at all. The keyholes are the kind which cannot be looked through.

Chance: I go to the next door.

DM: Same kind of lock there.

Chance: I look down from the balcony to see if anything has changed down there.

DM: 'Tis the same.

Chance: I try to open the door.

DM: The scratches are becoming more infrequent, like something slowly dying. Which door?

Chance: The first one. I have my hand at the ready for a dagger just in case.

DM: The door is locked. The finger twitches once more and then lays still.

Chance: "Okay, listen. I'm here to meet with Lord S. We all know that I'm here and would like to continue my pleasant discussion with my former guest."

DM: ...silence...the fingernail slowly moves, lengthening its appearance from under the door toward your boot.

Chance: I check the lock for traps. Anything?

DM: Nope, no trap.

Chance: I pick the lock but am ready to kill something undead.

DM: What about the nail that has extended a good 6 inches out from under the door towards your boot...

Chance: Screw this! I climb back down until I can jump the rest of the way and then jump. I go to the door of the parlor and try to open it again. If I can't, I'll pick it.

DM: Back down on the entryway floor you fall with a tumblers grace, rolling to your feet you march over to the parlor door, which, predictably, is locked. Whipping out your lock picks you quickly select those you think appropriate and set to picking the door.

Chance: I pick the damn lock and enter. I'm beginning to get a little miffed about this.

DM: What's your chance? I rolled an 88

Chance: 60% Damn. I rolled a 1 for my open doors check for strength. I'm a little pissed off and don't mind showing it. Oh, I drop 10 gold on the floor and say, "For the door." first.

DM: It takes you several minutes of banging against the door to force it in when suddenly it rocks inward gently on its hinges.

Chance: I regain my composure.

DM: Within the room it is empty, and dark, but for a single candle which rests on the far corner table on the right near the painted book case. There seems to be a slip of paper weighted down by the candle holder.

Chance: I go read the paper.

DM: Crossing the room your ear is attracted to the sound of a door opening - or closing - from up the stairs which leave this room on its left.

Chance: I grab the note off the table as I run toward the sound and try to make as little noise as possible. I read it along the way.

DM: Your eyes are messed up by the candle, leaving the light will force them to re-adjust before you can read it.

Chance: Don't care. I'm tired of all this boorish foolishness.

DM: As you rush to the stairs you hear the sound of cloth tearing and then a series of heavy thunks. *thunk thunk thunk thunk thunk* As you reach the foot of the stairway you are alarmed to see someone falling down the tall and steep stairway towards you.

Chance: I dodge out of the way.

DM: The body lands with a thunk in a pile of clothes and its cloak at the bottom of the stairs. A pool of read begins to seep forth and form near one end of the crumpled mass of cloth. Something shiny is attached to its side... like a pen.... no, like a dagger!

Chance: I check the I know the guy? Like a dagger that I own?

DM: You move to the fallen forms side, the dagger looks familiar, but it certainly _shouldn't_ be one of your own! The face is covered by the black cloak it wears.

Chance: Yeah, yeah. Someone's making an enemy. I glance around and look at the face...making sure to not get ANY blood on me anywhere.

DM: You try to be careful, but already it has poured forth to puddle against the lip of your boot. The dagger...disturbingly it looks like one you have owned or similar in craft.

Chance: Okay, I check the face and then get away from body. I check for a life beat, too.

DM: You lift the cloak, but recognize not the face which is smashed against the floor, the neck at a sickly angle from the fall down the stairs and empty staring eyes look to the floor in mock surprise from the youthful and rough face, framed by a tangled mass of black hair. You need not check a pulse to know the state of the unfortunate's health.

Chance: Does this resemble anyone I know?

DM: No

Chance: Okay...I don't touch the dagger or get anything else on me. I stop to read the note...out of the blood. Really quick. What does it say?

DM: Your foot-tip smears a streak of blood as you back up from the still warm corpse.

Chance: As long as that's all that I get it on.

DM: You mind races and you look to the note, the ghastly scene illuminated by the dim candle. The note is scrawled in an elegant but ancient hand, and in a tongue which you are not familiar with. As you examine it closer you see that select parts of the note are in languages you know, different ones, while other parts remain a mystery.

Chance: I put the words together....what do they say?

DM: After a brief inspection you determine that the note is made up of at least five different languages. It seems to be a poem, three collections of three lines. Each in a different language. Here it is...

Line1: unintelligible.
Line2: A name for scratch
Line3: unintelligible

Line4: Find true his name
Line5: You'll find your fame
Line6: unintelligible

Line7: Seek there a wretch
Line8: By the water such a mess
Line9: and there you can call him home.


DM: That is all of it.

Chance: I write a note of my own:

"To whom it may concern,
I'm not here to run on errands or be at anyone's call.
And for this simple reason, I say to hell with you all.
I'll find the answer and make it known,
that I'm not to be treated as a man not grown."

DM: Where do you place the note?

Chance: Under the candle...I've got gloves on so, good luck finding prints.

DM: You turn from your place where you wrote the note, to face the table. A looming shadow which does not belong fills the corner. The shadow forms something man-like, without feature.

Chance: "Show yourself. I'm tired of these games."

DM: "... there...are...none.... here... but theee...." calls a distant voice, seeming to come from the shadow formed figure.

Chance: "And what are you then?"

DM: "..."

Chance: "You are what?"

DM: The supernatural being of shadow wavers with the candles flickering. You hear its distant voice, "...I... am...a...presence."

DM: Shadow: ""

Chance: "I'm tired of these riddles and of this mystery. I'll solve this puzzle and then be done with this trash."

DM: Shadow: "If justice...there isss justice to be done here..."

Chance: "Yes I seek justice and goodness in all things. I count nothing of the shadow of a minion of justice. I understand your words, though, and will solve this puzzle as I said. Make it known that when I am finished with this, all of this game will be done and we'll have some answers." I go back to the body, making sure to stay out of the blood, and check the body for anything else that makes it stand out.

DM: Shadow "...there issss no feeling in shadows...there iss no distinction betwixt...good...and...evil...nor justice...I bear...a thing of theee...Will you...hear thisss?"

Chance: "Justice has no bind to good nor evil, but I am a minion of light. What is your 'thing of importance'? Speak and I will hear, but speak not in riddles."

DM: The figure reaches forward and its shadow extinguishes the light of the candle... Then you feel it move through the room and suddenly is uncomfortably close...

Chance: If this thing wanted me dead I already would be by now. I just continue to go through the body.

DM: A clearer voice speaks now, one with age, control, and decisiveness. "You here are certainly bursting with questions, they will have their fill soon, in a time which is dictated by your action or lack of. I know you seek valiant acts and there is a place in the world for this.... I know you are a seeker of justice, and light, there too is a place for these in our world...Fear not for the corpse which must now lay at yon feet...His story, as you discover it, will not be a disappointment to those things you hold true. When complete, you will come into possession of understanding...and fear not that your efforts will go unnoticed, for you are gauged and observed...and rewards come to those who do well. silence concerning your actions here... 'tis not the law which you must fear... know that you will find your place accommodating as long as you keep this...Lord S.... he is a fine instrument of decision, he will place you in good keeping when he knows of your success...Then at last..."

Chance: "Let me know this, was this man innocent or dirty of evil?"

DM: "You will be given your final choice in the matter - to seal your hands, your ears - to this and future efforts, or to depart elsewhere as your see fit. This I promise you... and I, as you, am a creature who lives by their word." You feel the room empty as the door at the far end of the parlor opens by itself, your eyes finish adjusting just as quickly as the voice is gone. Through the open door of the parlor you can see the front door slightly ajar.

Chance: "Perhaps one day we'll be able to discuss things in a bit more relaxed fashion, sir." I finish checking the body and take note of anything of interest.

DM: You search his pockets and find the following:

  • A piece of paper with the words "Wind'er Down" written on it.
  • A small round cylinder of glass about the size of the bottom of a shot glass, rimmed with metal with ease of hold.
  • Looking through this second you notice that things close to you reveal more detail and are enlarged.
  • A bunch of bowstrings (that's what you assume they are, though they would be for a smaller bow) tied in a loop. (or perhaps they are garrotes?
  • A pack of chewing tobacco.
  • A tattoo, three parallel wavy lines.
  • An old badge of some bird diving, he badge is triangular and has something written but faded beneath it which you can't make out in this light.
  • A bag of seeds, but in the bottom of this small pouch is a curious white powder.
  • A dagger which looks used and often so. it is serrated at its base.
  • Three small gems, one red, one yellow, and one orange

Chance: I collect all the stuff into a bag that can be concealed easily and go back to the Bards College.

DM: It's late and so Davin, the guard at the gate, has to open it for you when you get there. You hurry across the gardened courtyard and within.

Chance: I climb into bed and get a good night's sleep.